A day early

I had promised my dad, who’s over for a couple of weeks visiting his grandkids and grandbeagle, some traditional South African loadshedding, but we all thought that it would kick in tomorrow, when everyone goes back to work and the demand for electricity we can’t provide goes up.

Not the case, as at 10pm yesterday evening, Eskom announced a night of Stage 2, ostensibly in order to top up their diesel and repump their water. This didn’t directly affect us, thanks to a friendly schedule, but then we woke this morning to a 24 hour extension, meaning no coffee for me, and no early morning Scalectrix for the beagle.

Understandably, we’re both pretty annoyed right now.

I’m also wondering what the immediate reason is for today’s loadshedding, given that the diesel and the water were sorted overnight. It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the week. Or for the rest of the year.

 

Sky Spiders

We really enjoyed the New Year fireworks on Struisbaai beach. There are some fun sponges out there who would like to see a complete ban (and sadly, it seems that they’re getting their way bit by bit), but such is the draw of this 2 hour free-for-all, I’m hopeful that the Struisbaai display may yet live to see in several more New Years.

I accept that there are dangers. The Suiderstrand fire seems likely to have been lit by a braai though, so are you going to try and ban them too? This annual festival is approved by the relevant Fire Services, who would much rather have all the fireworks in one place where they can monitor them and step in if needs be, than all over the Southern Tip.

“Outlaw people using distress flares!”, “Prevent another Betty’s Bay from happening!!” cry the outraged masses, conveniently forgetting that the Betty’s Bay fire  – terrible though it was – was… er… actually started by someone launching a distress flare illegally.

This is SA. The law doesn’t stop people.

And so concentrating them all together right next to a fire engine actually seems like a very good idea.

I’ll sort some photos when I have some more time and inclination, but this one summed up the evening for at least one of the kids.

On the left, an exploding rocket- and then the eight stages of its disintegration in the south east wind. From sharp, defined edges, bones and legs, through to the barely recognisable, diffuse remains on the right.

A quick scan suggests that there are a lot of (handheld, nighttime) fireworks shots on the camera, of which at least one or two are probably worth sharing. But like I said: still in holiday mode here.

Deal with it. 🙂

Wildlifes

We are going to try to see some local wildlifes this morning, so standby on my Instagram for some (or more) shots from the Agulhas Plain throughout the day.

Amazingly, it’s still absolutely free to follow me on there (and on here).

I know. Unbelievebeagle, isn’t it?

Anyway, apparently wildlifes on offer may include: hippopotamuses, elands, gruffalos, quaggas, springboks and many more marvellous mammals, with a side order of birdlife.

And possibly some plant. In fact, almost certainly some plant.
Plant can like to be very popular.

And then after the wildlifes, some wines.
I’m looking forward to it all.

 

UPDATE: Sorry. It seems that I heard wrongly and it should be BUFFALOS and not GRUFFALOS. Bit disappointing, to be honest, but oh well.

The Suiderstrand Fire

Around lunchtime on December the 22nd, a veldfire ignited near the parking lot in Suiderstrand. With the southeaster blowing hard, the fire quickly spread and within half an hour, one building was completely destroyed. If it weren’t for the quick reactions of the Working On Fire helicopter from Bredasdorp, it could have been a lot, lot worse.

We weren’t down here then, as we were spending Christmas with family in Cape Town, and it took a while before the panicky messages on the whatsapp groups – in Afrikaans, nogal – began to make sense and I finally worked out that our place was not in immediate danger. It was a horrible few minutes. The point of ignition was only 100m from our front door, and had the fire started 24 hours before, it would have been blown directly towards our place.

The wind has been pumping since we arrived down here, and it was only yesterday morning that I managed to get the drone up to survey the scene from above and see just how lucky some houses were to escape serious harm.

There are plenty of melted gutters and lots of damaged paintwork, but nothing that can’t be repaired after the festive break. Not so much for the burnt-out home though. It’s a sad and sobering sight.

If one is looking for positives – and at this time of year, one should always have a glass half full – it was that this was the only casualty, and that no-one was injured or killed in the fire.

The village reacted well, with plenty of people on hand to assist where possible and great communication. And we’ve all renewed our knowledge of evacuation procedures and emergency numbers, which is never a bad thing.

We just hope we never have to use them.

Low tide for tonight

It’s always safer when the tide is low for New Year’s on Struisbaai beach.

Several thousand drunk Afrikaners with several (or more) fireworks each get quite concentrated when the tide is up, but I’ve checked and the first tide of the New Year is a low one at about 00:33.

That means that there will be plenty of beach to have fun on for the duration of the festivities.

I suppose that this is a good thing, but it will make it a whole lot less exciting than last year.